As fuel prices continue to rise, fleet owners are looking for every possible way to control costs. With the right fuel card and some careful planning, you can reduce the impact of rising fuel prices on your business. Here are seven tips to help you manage rising diesel fuel prices:
1. Use a fuel card for fueling your fleet.
If you are using cash or a credit card to purchase fuel for your fleet, you should consider switching to a dedicated fuel card. A quality fuel card will allow you to pay “cash price” at the pump and access discounts at truck stops that aren’t available with cash or credit cards. These discounts will either be a part of the network (built-in discounts available for everyone) or you might be able to negotiate a specific discount for your fleet at preferred truck stops. Fuel cards can also help you track your fuel expenses, so you can see where your money is going and make adjustments accordingly.
When it comes to fuel cards, it's important to do your research and choose the right provider for your business. With a little bit of effort, you can find fuel card providers that offer great discounts and perks that can help offset the rising cost of diesel fuel.
2. Consider Fueling at Independent (Mom & Pop) truckstops.
Did you know the average price for fuel at small mom & pop truck stops is on average $0.20 - $0.25 cents less expensive than the large national chain truck stops? Consider planning a route that will allow for fueling at smaller truck stops that offer less expensive fuel as a way of competing with larger truck stops. Yes, you might give up on amenities (parking/showers, etc.) that the larger truck stops offer, but if cheaper fuel is what you’re looking for, then a smaller truck stop will generally post a price that’s way under larger national truck stop chains.
3. If possible, avoid transaction fees.
Fuel cards are notorious for tacking on transaction fees to fuel transactions. These can show up as a fixed dollar amount per swipe or a percentage of the total transaction. Most times there are ways a fleet can avoid paying transaction fees by fueling at the right truck stop locations. If you are using a fuel card that has transaction fees everywhere, consider finding a fuel card that features a network that fleets can access with no transaction fees. Every penny helps when combating high fuel prices.
4. Ask to have your credit limit raised on your fleet fuel card account.
With the higher fuel prices, you’ll need more credit to keep your fleet moving. Oftentimes getting a credit line increase is as simple as just asking. If you have a proven track record with the fuel card provider of paying your bill and being a good customer with good utilization, you should have no problem getting a bump. If your fuel card provider is unwilling to increase your credit line, consider securing an increased credit line with a cash deposit. This will allow your fleet to continue to realize the savings afforded by a fuel card vs. paying cash or using a credit card, which has no fuel discount potential. You could also consider looking for a second fuel card that gives you the additional credit line needed to continue operations. You never know, the second fuel card might be better than what you’re currently using!
5. Pay “cash price.”
Truck stops generally post a “Cash” and “Credit” price at their locations. Many Fleet Fuel cards will get you the “Cash” price even though a fuel card works very similar to a credit card. Fleet Fuel Cards are able to access “Cash” pricing as the interchange rates with a fuel card are less than a credit card issuer.
6. Research your route for the least expensive diesel fuel.
Reduced fuel prices can be found for any fleet that’s willing to put in a little bit of work on the front end of the route. Professional drivers will know about where/when they’ll need to fuel along the way and by using a myriad of mobile applications that show fuel prices, can find a deal on diesel. A word of caution though about mobile apps and fuel prices: they’re never 100% accurate. Don’t be surprised to learn that what’s being shown on the mobile application isn’t what’s posted by the truck stop. It’s the nature of the constant ebb and flow of fuel prices that are often driven by the downstream price of fuel.
7. Encourage/Reward Good Driving.
Drivers have the ability to stretch a gallon of diesel by driving in a way that maximizes fuel efficiency. Avoiding rapid accelerations and driving at appropriate speeds can help as can, equipping trucks with trailer skirts or trailer tails to minimize drag and make trucks more aerodynamic.
The Multi Service Fuel Card team is dedicated to helping fleets maximize spend and realize every possible efficiency available to fleets. If you’d like to talk to one of our national consultants to learn more about The Powerful Card®, please give us a call today!